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Robert Keeley D&M Drive

Sometimes it's best to shut up and drive ...


by Chris Loeffler




Dan Steinhardt and Mick Taylor, hosts of the YouTube series “That Pedal Show,” have long served the pedal-using public by providing deatiled and insightful reviews of the latest and greatest boutique pedals. Robert Keeley, one of the boutique pedal world’s earlier forefathers, decided to give a nod to their contributions by co-designing a dual-channel overdrive them that checks all the boxes to their exacting (if sometimes contradictory) wants and needs. The result is the Keeley D&M Drive.


The Keeley D&M Drive features a Drive and a Boost side, with Gain, Level, and Tone controls for each, channel, independent true-bypass footswitches for both, and an effect order toggle switch. The Keeley D&M Drive is powered by a standard 9V power supply.


What You Need to Know


The Boost side (Mick) and a Drive side (Dan) are accurately named within the context of the pedal, but are somewhat more flexible than their names imply when compared to other pedals. The Boost side easily slides into low-to-mid overdrive settings by the time it eclipses noon on the Gain control, and the Drive side walks into classic distortion-territory on the farthest third of it’s Gain settings.


The right-hand Mick channel (Boost) boasts a thick midrange might that is undeniably of the Tube Screamer variety, but with the more robust low end and open voice that is typified in Keeley’s high-end TS modifications. Like most boost effects, the Mick channel was made to goose an on-the-edge tube amp into creamy overdrive, creating bite and capably dynamic touch sensitivity without sacrificing the focus and punch of its roots.


Dan’s Drive channel brings a broader range of gain (easily twice as much), with an an unapologetic overlap of overdrive and distortion.  Its voicing adds sizzle and layers harmonic saturation to chords and individual notes, crossing over to full-blown classic heavy tones by the time the Gain is dimed. As dynamic as the gain structure is, Dan’s Drive comes alive when it is crunching through chords and cuts through leads.


While both channels are extremely flexible and could cover nearly any genre of music, the secret weapon to the Keeley D&M Drive is  the toggle that lets you select which channel  comes first when both are engaged. This toggle is both incredibly useful and thematically on spot,  given Dan and Mick’s self-professed love for stacking overdrive pedals. Running the Boost into the Drive channel creates greater openness and saturation, ideal for leads, while the Drive into the Boost results in a thicker, hotter tone that cuts through the mix.




The Keeley D&M Drive requires an external power supply to work, a potential hitch to some of the bare-bones rock players who may be interested in the tones it creates but who only use batteries to power their pedals.




The Keeley D&M Drive pedal offers two classically voiced gain channels that complement each other as well as Dave and Mick do with the versatility to decide who goes first (a luxury its namesakes undoubtedly revisit regularly). The compact footprint and price savings represented by the marriage creates a compelling package that opens up four new tones (Drive , Boost, D>B, B>D) without bending over to make a change. The Keeley D&M Drive won’t change the sound of your guitar and amp wholesale, but it will add dirt and presence to what you already love and is the stuff of Rock and Roll dreams.  -HC-




Robert Keeley D&M Drive Product Page


Buy the Robert Keeley D&M Drive (MSRP $279.99, Street $229.00 ) @ Musician's Friend , Sweetwater





Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 


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